The 14 Hottest Startups of 2015
How do you define a startup?
According to Wikipedia: “A startup company or startup (sometimes referred as innovative SME) is a business in the form of a company, a partnership or temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model. These companies, generally newly created, are in a phase of development and research for markets. The term became popular internationally during the dot-com bubble when a great number of dot-com companies were founded. Due to this background, many consider startups to be only tech companies, but as technology is becoming a normal factor, the essence of startups has more to do with innovativeness, scalability and growth.”
We’re identified 14 startups we think are going to make it big in 2015. Some are trying to transform messaging, some are attempting to conquer the sharing economy, and some are media companies trying to make it big.
Why you should watch: Slack is a communication app that lets workplaces use a group chat room, private messaging features, and file sharing. It’s completely taken the business world by storm, and is one of the fastest growing enterprise apps of all time. Slack will likely only get bigger next year.
Funding: $180 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Accel Partners, The Social+Capital Partnership, Google Ventures, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
Founders: Stewart Butterfield, Eric Costello, Cal Henderson, Serguei Mourachov
Why you should watch: Companies across Silicon Valley are embracing meditation as a way to help employees unlock productivity. Headspace is taking advantage of that trend by offering mobile and web platforms that let you meditate on your own time. Headspace has over a million users in 150 countries.
Funding: $4 million in seed funding, but no investors have been announced.
Founders: Andy Puddicombe, Richard Pierson
Why you should watch: Wish is a mobile shopping startup that looks like Pinterest and only shows you the stuff you want to buy. Techcrunch says the startup is in “talks to raise roughly $100 million at a valuation of around $1 billion.” Wish CEO Peter Szulczewski said “We want to be Google AdWords for the retailer.”
Funding: $78.7 million from Founders Fund, Legend Capital, GGV Capital, Jerry Yang, and Jared Leto.
Founders: Peter Szulczewski, Danny Zhang
What it is: Casper landed a $13.1 Million Series A this summer, and has been growing ever since. The company wants to take the traditionally convoluted process of buying a mattress and streamline it for the web. The startup’s clean, informative website and slick ordering system has already facilitated thousands of orders.
Investors: $15 million from New Enterprise Associates, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Kevin Colleran, and SV Angel.
Founders: Philip Krim, Jeff Chapin, Gabriel Flateman, Luke Sherwin, Neil Parikh
Why you should watch: With Instacart, you can order groceries from your phone or online, and have them delivered to your apartment in less than an hour. Instacart operates in 10 cities right now. Most locations offer food and household essentials from Costco, Harris Teeter, and Whole Foods. In December, Instacart raised a huge $100 million round of funding.
Funding: $154.8 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Khosla Ventures, Sequoia Capital, Sam Altman, and Aaron Levie.
Founders: Apoorva Mehta, Max Mullen, Brandon Leonardo
Why you should watch: Dots, originally born out of Betaworks, is a new type of gaming studio. The company’s initial game “Dots” was a gigantic hit, garnering over one million users in a week after their launch in May 2013. They followed up with a sequel game, TwoDots this summer and last week spun out of Betaworks entirely after closing a $10 million round of funding from Tencent and GreyCroft.
Investors: $10 million from Greycroft Partners, Tencent, Northzone Ventures, and Crunchfund.
Founders: Paul Murphy, Patrick Moberg
Why you should watch: Marc Lore, formerly the CEO of Quidsi — the website behind Diapers.com — is working on unveiling a new e-commerce website called Jet, which is rumored to be an Amazon-killer. Lore has promised Jet will be a “new kind of e-commerce experience, uniquely grounded in transparency and customer empowerment.” Jet hasn’t officially launched yet, but it has announced it will offer shares of stock to early users.
Funding: $80 million from High Peaks Venture Partners, MentorTech Ventures, Bain Capital Ventures, Accel Partners, and New Enterprise Associates.
Why you should watch: Hampton Creek wants to make eggs obsolete and according to founder and CEO Josh Tetrick, “get rid of s— food that’s bad for our bodies and bad for the planet.” The company released an eggless mayonnaise this year that was so successful they were sued by Hellmann’s, and just announced $90 million in Series C funding on top of the $23 million Series B round they raised this February.
Funding: $30 million from Khosla Ventures, Collaborative Fund, and Horizons Ventures.
Founders: Josh Tetrick
Why you should watch: Mic is a media company built for millennials. In the three years since founding the company, Chris Altchek and Jake Horowitz have built a modern media brand from the ground up, recruiting top talent on the way. The company has raised $15 million to date and attracts 19 million readers per month.
Funding: $15 million from Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Advancit Capital, Red Swan Ventures, and The Knight Foundation.
Founders: Chris Altchek, Jake Horowitz
Why you should watch: Electric Objects wants to give you a way to display internet art into your home. The company was founded by former Betaworks employee Jake Levine, who helped orchestrate Digg’s reinvention. Electric Objects secured $1.7 million in seed funding back in April then proceeded to raise an additional $800,000 on Kickstarter this August.
Funding: $1.7 million from Betaworks, First Round, RRE Ventures Nate Westheimer, Matt Witheiler, Rich Greenfield, and Scott Birnbaum.
Founders: Jake Levine
Why you should watch: If you haven’t already heard about it, Yik Yak is a gossip app taking high schools and college campuses by storm. It works by letting users post anything they want, anonymously. The app is location-based, so you can only see what people nearby are posting. Some schools have already blocked the app. In total, Yik Yak has raised $73.5 million.
Funding: $73.5 million from Sequoia Capital, Tim Draper, Kevin Colleran, Azure Capital Partners, and DCM Ventures.
Founders: Tyler Droll, Brooks Buffington
Why you should watch: After mastering the art of the podcast as a producer for This American Life, Alex Blumberg decided to start his own network. Gimlet Media only runs two shows, one of which is about the company itself, but after receving a slew of seed-stage investment this fall, the company is expanding rapidly.
Funding: $1.5 million from Betaworks, Lowercase Capital, and Knight Enterprise Fund.
Founders: Alex Blumberg, Matt Lieber
Why you should watch: We live in an age in which hackers have leaked everything from Sony executives’ emails to the private pictures on celebrities’ iPhones. To keep yourself and your messages safe, you may want to consider using Cyber Dust. Mark Cuban’s free app lets users send self-destructing texts and photos, with help from Mention Media. It’s like Snapchat in that your messages will vanish after 30 seconds, but it’s better than Snapchat because won’t leave any trace of your messages whatsoever — your name is never attached to them, either.
Funding: None announced.
Founders: Ryan Ozonian
Why you should watch: Bowery allows developers to set up coding environments in 30 seconds flat. Bowery’s cloud-based system frees programmers from the painful process of manually installing complicated sets of parameters over and over again before they can begin working. It also lets developers share their environment with co-workers in real time. One CEO told us Bowery’s technology has the power to radically transform how engineers work.
Funding: $1.5 million from Betaworks, Bloomberg Beta, BOLDstart Ventures, Deep Fork Capital, Google Ventures, Homebrew, RRE, SV Angel, General Catalyst’s Rough Draft Ventures, and First Round Capital’s Dorm Room Fund.
Founders: Zachary Hamed, David Byrd, Steve Kaliski
Original Source : Business Insider UK